The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again

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American journalism is collapsing as newspapers and magazines fail and scores of reporters are laid off across the country. Conventional wisdom says the Internet is to blame, but veteran journalists and media critics Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols disagree. The crisis of American journalism predates the Great Recession and digital media boom. What we are witnessing now is the end of the commercial news model and the opportune moment for the creation of a new system of independent journalism, one subsidized by the public and capable of safeguarding our democracy.
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About the author

Robert W. McChesney is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He hosts Media Matters on WILL-AM radio. John Nichols is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for the Nation and the associate editor of the Capital Times.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Nation Books
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Published on
Jul 12, 2011
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781568587004
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A seminal work and examination of the psychopathology of journalism. Using a strange and unprecedented lawsuit as her larger-than-life example -- the lawsuit of Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, against Joe McGinniss, the author of Fatal Vision, a book about the crime -- she delves into the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject. In Malcolm's view, neither journalist nor subject can avoid the moral impasse that is built into the journalistic situation. When the text first appeared, as a two-part article in The New Yorker, its thesis seemed so radical and its irony so pitiless that journalists across the country reacted as if stung.

Her book is a work of journalism as well as an essay on journalism: it at once exemplifies and dissects its subject. In her interviews with the leading and subsidiary characters in the MacDonald-McGinniss case -- the principals, their lawyers, the members of the jury, and the various persons who testified as expert witnesses at the trial -- Malcolm is always aware of herself as a player in a game that, as she points out, she cannot lose. The journalist-subject encounter has always troubled journalists, but never before has it been looked at so unflinchingly and so ruefully. Hovering over the narrative -- and always on the edge of the reader's consciousness -- is the MacDonald murder case itself, which imparts to the book an atmosphere of anxiety and uncanniness. The Journalist and the Murderer derives from and reflects many of the dominant intellectual concerns of our time, and it will have a particular appeal for those who cherish the odd, the off-center, and the unsolved.
Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour—or its greatest moment

The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.

The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols argue that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny—before it's too late—and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.
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